State budget crunch time, SCCC adjuncts moving toward unionization, the naked female form, Albany from above back then

Hi. We're continuing to try out a new format for Morning Blend. Thanks for the feedback so far, and we welcome continued suggestions.

Many details are surfacing -- or not -- about all the various elements in the state budget that legislators are trying to cram together before the deadline Tuesday night:

+ Education funding and testing are a major issue: The Cuomo admin has tied an increase in education funding to a reform plan that would link tests intended to measure "student growth performance" to teacher tenure decisions. NYSUT has been pushing back on the reform package. [TU] [State of Politics x2]

+ Lead (lede) of the day, from Casey Seiler, about the ethics reform component of the budget: "Legislation designed to expand transparency in government remained under wraps a day before it was scheduled to be passed as part of an on-time state budget." [TU]

+ The budget doesn't include proposed cuts to VLT aid for Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. It also codifies an expansion of the types of VLT games to include games such blackjack [Daily Gazette]. [TU]

+ Quietly tucked into the budget: a sales tax break for yachts. [Capital]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

Adjunct instructors at SCCC are moving toward being unionized. SEIU says more than 60 percent of the adjuncts have signed cards indicating they want to join a union. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Albany County exec Dan McCoy is asking the county legislature to formally appoint the administrator of the county nursing home at a $325,000 salary. (He's already making roughly that in a monthly consulting arrangement.) [TU]

The Albany County DA's office says two men have indicted on charges that include attempted murder for an alleged attack on a man near the intersection of Lark Street and Chestnut Street in Albany (map) following a concert at the Washington Avenue Armory in January. [Albany County DA]

Two students are suing UAlbany over how the university conducted misconduct hearings for 24 students that apparently stemmed from the death of a Trevor Duffy in an alleged underground frat off-campus in November. [Daily Gazette]

The first Capital Region Price Chopper to get the new Market 32 name is in Wilton. [TU]


Local artist Betty Pieper to the Daily Gazette, reflecting on why her painting of two female nudes was originally rejected from a show at SCCC by an unnamed official -- SCCC's president has since reversed the decision and apologized:

"Is it because I'm an old woman myself? ... I suspect old women are not supposed to paint big canvases and nudes. ... It's not disgusting ... Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers are more suggestive than this! Some of them are suggestive of a vagina, you know. This alludes to nothing. It's almost like it's a women's issue."

Fact: The sap must flow

The lingering winter has slowed production of maple syrup this spring. The sap harvest at Mountain Winds Farm in Berne is behind by roughly 80 percent this year, the owner tells News10.

Earlier on AOA: The art and science of maple sugaring

Albany from above, back then

Albany Archives shared this great map on Twitter yesterday:

Stuff going on today (Tuesday, March 31, 2015)

Schenectady casino
The city of Schenectady planning commission will be reviewing the master plan for the Schenectady casino site at 6:30 pm at city hall. [Daily Gazette]

Barbara Smith
The NYS Writers Institute has organized a panel discussion centered around noted (local) activist Barbara Smith and the book Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Blurbage:

Media personality Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom will moderate a panel discussion with Smith and Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, editors of the new book, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith (SUNY Press, 2014). Immediately following the discussion there will be a reception and book signing.

(This event was rescheduled from earlier this month because of weather.) Tuesday 7 pm, UAlbany downtown campus, Milne 200 - free


A tax break for yachts? I used to say I never understood why the Capital District, the capital of New York, never seemed to get out of the poverty it's steeped in (I was in HS in Albany in the early '90s) and now having lived here for the last 8 years after living on the west coast, it's so obvious that we have the most corrupt, overpaid state government (and all of its cronies, everybody getting paid). It is ridiculous the state of decay of so many things here in the Capital District (streets, schools, total neighborhoods, closed businesses, etc.) while taxpayers pay and pay and pay and yet the same state of decay seems to exist decade after decade. I'm pretty sure the only state that might trump NY for most corruption is NJ. It's like a contest between to the two to see who can be the absolute worst.

I'm digging the new format. Thanks, AOA.

xina, the repeal of the tax is not intended to help the rich, it's intended to help yacht makers.

Back in the 80's, congress instituted a 10% Luxury tax on yachts over $100,000. But guess what happened? The "rich" bought fewer yachts, and some yacht makers went out of business.

From the NY Times: "Overall employment in the industry, including the makers of smaller, less-expensive boats, has dropped to 400,000, from 600,000 in 1988."

Billy, I think that Xina is correct. Also, there's no need to place rich between quotes. The tax break applies to purchases over $230K, if I'm not mistaken, and I would imagine that the employment market for those yachts is a very small percentage of the overall employment in the industry. There are always tons of reasons why employment goes down in a specific industry: automation (the first), poor quality of products, and competition from foreign manufacturers. I would bet anything that the three factors above had a lot more to do with the shrinking of the workforce, than the tax. The wealthy keep convincing us that trickle down works, and that if we don't tax them at all, we'll all be better off. From where I stand, I've seen those policies at work since the 60s, and the value of work has only gone down. "Intended to help yacht makers" is pulling wool over our eyes, I think. I don't buy for a NY minute.

Yep, because trickle-down economics has worked so well!

Right, so there can be NO OTHER explanation as to why sales of an ultra-luxury item are lower now than in 1988, when we were trying to put lasers in space to blow up missiles, in space. It's not like any other industries have seen cuts in employment during one of the biggest recessions in history or anything.

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